CompTIA Taps Brain Science to Help You Conquer Certification Testing

CompTIA has launched a new e-learning tool that leverages research in neurobiology, cognitive psychology and game studies and uses key principles from each field to help you learn necessary information quickly and retain it long-term.

The CertMaster training program, available for A+, Network+, Security+ and Strata IT Fundamentals certification tracks, features a variety of techniques to help you learn, including adaptive learning, spacing and motivation triggers, says Terry Erdle, CompTIA’s executive vice president of certification and learning, and to give students the confidence to pass the test and move on to an IT career.

Closing the IT Training Gap

“We’ve seen over the years that we train far more people than we test,” Erdle says. “While there’s tremendous effort to train on tests like A+ and Network+, students don’t always follow through and actually take the exam, and we are trying to address some of the reasons that’s happening,” he says.

Erdle says sometimes this lack of follow-through is cultural, or because of logistical challenges — some students can’t physically get to a testing location, he says — but is most often a result of an intense fear of failure or lack of confidence in the ability to learn and retain the information.

“We’re trying to overcome these challenges by tapping into brain science and figuring out how best to prepare students to both sit a challenging exam and pass, and also how to have confidence that those skills and knowledge will stay with them as they move into new IT jobs,” Erdle says.

The Science of Games

Most of the scientific research CompTIA used to develop CertMaster is the same as that used by the gaming industry to keep players engaged and energized while playing, and encourages a sense of progression, risk, achievement and curiosity. This pings dopamine levels — since it feels good to succeed — and creates a positive feedback loop, making it easier to retain information and skills. CertMaster also provides immediate, high-level feedback to encourage students to learn from mistakes and lessen the risk they’ll abandon the course, says Erdle.

Erdle says CertMaster’s personalized, adaptive learning and data analytics technology will customize the training to each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and level of knowledge and retention.

[Related: How Gamification Makes Customer Service Fun]

“In traditional learning, repetition is how material is taught. But in adult learning situations, each adult brings a different level of knowledge about different subjects, and it’s hard to know what’s relevant for each one,” he says. “CertMaster can quickly figure out and then benchmark each student’s knowledge so they’re not hammering on material they already know,” he says.

Data analytics can also predict when students have reached their maximum learning capacity and need to take a break.

CompTIA CertMaster is available starting June 4, 2014, and costs $139.00 per course, Erdle says. Discount pricing is available for academic institutions, and separate channel partner pricing is also available, he says. CertMaster can be accessed via any Web browser, and on both iOS and Android mobile devices. Visit for even more information.

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Hackers compromised nearly 5M Gmail passwords

Gmail users urged to change passwords after apparent attack

Security experts are urging Gmail users to change their passwords amid reports that hackers gained access to the credentials of 5 million users of the free email service. Some password combinations have been spotted on Russian cybercrime forums.

Peter Kruse, head of the eCrime unit at CSIS Security Group in Copenhagen, told Computerworld that most of the nearly 5 million stolen Gmail passwords are about three years old, but many are still legitimate and functioning.

He said that CSIS experts suspect that several hackers worked on an endpoint compromise to exploit vulnerable network protocols.

Google did not respond to a Computerworld request for comment but has told other news outlets that it has found no evidence that their systems have been compromised.

Google’s cloud-based email service is used by individuals as well as enterprises.

Russian media outlet RIA Novosti reported that hackers have stolen and published a database containing the Google account logins and passwords to a Bitcoin Security online forum.

The database reportedly contains 4.93 million Google accounts from English, Russian and Spanish users.

Kruse said the discovery of the hack comes just days after more than 4.6 million Russian-based accounts and 1.25 million Yandex e-mail boxes were reportedly compromised. Yandex is the largest Russian-based search engine.


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Intel’s Core M chips headed to 20 Windows tablets, hybrids

Intel’s new Core M chips — which bring PC-like performance to paper-thin tablets — will initially be in many Windows 8.1 tablets, but no Android devices are yet on the radar.

The chips will be in five to seven detachable tablets and hybrids by year end, and the number of devices could balloon to 20 next year, said Andy Cummins, mobile platform marketing manager at Intel.

Core M chips, announced at the IFA trade show in Berlin on Friday, are the first based on the new Broadwell architecture. The processors will pave the way for a new class of thin, large-screen tablets with long battery life, and also crank up performance to run full PC applications, Intel executives said in interviews.

“It’s about getting PC-type performance in this small design,” Cummins said. “[Core M] is much more optimized for thin, fanless systems.”

Tablets with Core M could be priced as low as US$699, but the initial batch of detachable tablets introduced at IFA are priced much higher. Lenovo’s 11.6-inch ThinkPad Helix 2 starts at $999, Dell’s 13.3-inch Latitude 13 7000 starts at $1,199, and Hewlett-Packard’s 13.3-inch Envy X2 starts at $1,049.99. The products are expected to ship in September or October.

Core M was also shown in paper-thin prototype tablets running Windows and Android at the Computex trade show in June. PC makers have not expressed interest in building Android tablets with Core M, but the OS can be adapted for the chips, Cummins said.

The dual-core chips draw as little as 4.5 watts, making it the lowest-power Core processor ever made by Intel. The clock speeds start at 800MHz when running in tablet mode, and scales up to 2.6GHz when running PC applications.

The power and performance characteristics make Core M relevant primarily for tablets. The chips are not designed for use in full-fledged PCs, Cummins said.

“If you are interested in the highest-performing parts, Core M probably isn’t the exact right choice. But if you are interested in that mix of tablet form factor, detachable/superthin form factor, this is where the Core M comes into play,” Cummins said.

For full-fledged laptops, users could opt for the upcoming fifth-generation Core processor, also based on Broadwell, Cummins said. Those chips are faster and will draw 15 watts of power or more, and be in laptops and desktops early next year.

New features in Core M curbed power consumption, and Intel is claiming performance gains compared to chips based on the older Haswell architecture. Tablets could offer around two more hours of battery life with Core M.

In internal benchmarks, the dual-core Core M 5Y70 CPU provided faster application and graphics performance compared to the Haswell-based Core i5-4302Y chip operating at 4.5 watts. The Core M chip was faster by 19 percent on office productivity, 12 percent on Web applications, 47 percent on 3D graphics and 82 percent on video conversion.

The new 14-nanometer manufacturing process also helped reduce the Core M size and power consumption. Intel’s current chips are made using the 22-nm process.

“We needed to have smaller transistors and smaller die, which leads to a smaller package” that can fit inside thin tablets, Cummins said.

More innovative features are in store for devices with Core M. Starting in early 2015, there will be an option for wireless docking through WiGig, a wireless technology faster than Wi-Fi. Intel is currently developing a “smart dock” through which laptops can wirelessly connect to monitors and external peripherals like mice and keyboards.

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You drain me: Apple replaces some iPhone 5 batteries for free

‘Very small percentage’ affected, says Apple; but small sample showed 2 out of 3 phones eligible

Apple last week said that it will replace some iPhone 5 batteries free of charge, claiming that “a very small percentage” of the smartphones needed to be charged more often and that those charges were quickly exhausted.

The program, which was announced only in a support document published on Apple’s website, offered free battery replacements for iPhone 5 devices that “suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

According to Apple, the affected phones were sold between September 2012 and January 2013, and “fall within a limited serial number range.” The Cupertino, Calif. company also said that only “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 devices were impacted.

Computerworld’s experience was different. Out of an admittedly small sample — three iPhone 5 phones bought during the stretch in question, each several weeks apart — two were eligible for the battery replacement. Neither of the two that qualified, however, had required more charging than was normal for a nearly-two-year-old iPhone, nor did their batteries drain any faster than the third, ineligible, device.

Apple started selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, 2012. It retired the model last year when it was replaced by the iPhone 5S and 5C.

This was not the first time that Apple has dealt with iPhone battery issues. In October 2013, the company confirmed that it was contacting a “very limited” number of iPhone 5S owners and offering them a replacement phone.

In both 2009 and 2011, iPhone users also reported battery-draining problems with their iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S devices, respectively.

Customers can check their iPhone 5 for battery replacement eligibility on Apple’s website by entering their device’s serial number. That can be found under Settings/General/About.

Until Friday, Aug. 29, the replacement deal will be available only in the U.S. and China; on that date, other countries will come online.

Users must take advantage of the free replacement within two years of the phone’s last purchase, or by March 1, 2015, whichever comes first. Customers can take their smartphones to an Apple retail store or authorized service provider for the new battery swap, or ship it to Apple.

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The best cities for landing top pay for your tech skills

Target your talent: The best cities for landing top pay for your tech skills

IT pros looking for a new gig, take heed: Those $140,000-per-year jobs in San Francisco are worth just $86,000 when adjusted for the cost of living. So if you’re looking to cash in on the tech gold rush, you’d be significantly better off taking a $100,000 offer in Denver.

InfoWorld has teamed with PayScale, which tracks compensation, and job board Dice to help you find where your IT salary will go the furthest. We’ve drilled down and examined data for six hot job categories: software developer, systems engineer, software architect, security architect, network architect, and IT program manager. We’ll show you the cities that make the most economic sense to live in if you’ve got the skills to land a job in one of those specialties.

Tech meccas: Top pay — but at what cost?
You can’t, no matter what say, have it all. These five metro areas offer many perks: great weather in San Diego, great cultural advantages in New York and Boston, and the creative ferment and buzz of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. But all that comes at the price of an extremely high cost of living that shrinks that six-figure paycheck to a relatively modest level.

Note: Salary figures throughout represent median pay. job listings were current as of late June. Cost of living index data is provided by the The Council for Community and Economic Research and consists of six major categories: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

Five metro areas where your salary will go the furthest
If finding a job that pays the best is your priority, there are gems scattered about the country that offer plentiful jobs and an affordable cost of living. Raleigh, N.C., the heart of the famed Research Triangle, tops our list of metro areas combining abundant jobs with the highest adjusted salaries for IT workers. Salt Lake City and Austin are just a nose behind, so who needs the expense of Silicon Valley or Route 128?

Software developers: The IT employees most in demand
It’s not a surprise that the greater Seattle area, home to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, is fertile ground for a software developer looking for a new job. In late June, the Dice job board listed more than 500 openings for software developers in Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue, and surrounding cities, including nearly 100 at Amazon alone, while Microsoft’s website offers hundreds. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that Detroit — a city not on the radar screen of many techies — and nearby communities have more than 200 jobs for developers and an adjusted pay scale that’s only about 10 percent behind the leader. Other bang-for-the-buck oases off the tech-beaten track are Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Atlanta.

Senior systems engineers — Huntsville, anyone?
If St. Louis brings to mind the Gateway Arch and Budweiser Clydesdales but not tech, better think again. You’ll find 83 listings for senior systems engineers along the Mississippi. Some are fairly specialized. CSC, for instance, is targeting engineers with security clearance and skills in Informatica, Cognos, Business Objects, and more. If you’re willing to pursue a less senior title, Huntsville, Ala., a city with strong ties to the aerospace industry, currently has 72 listings for “system engineers,” including many at Northrop Grumman. And again, solid job prospects and cheaper living costs make Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and Detroit worth considering. Note: systems engineer is a somewhat vague title, so you’ll need to drill down as you look for a good fit.

Calling (certified) software architects
“Software architect” can mean a lot of things, so it’s hard to gauge actual demand. But looked at broadly, employers in the Atlanta area, for example, not only pay a higher than average salary, but have the most job openings listed (325) in this category. It’s worth noting that a significant portion of the jobs are actually listings placed by staffing agencies filling jobs for their clients. CyberCoders, for example, is looking for a “senior voice collaboration architect” with the following specific skills: CCIE, CCDE, CCNP Voice, CCDP, MCSE, CISSP, TDM/PBX Certifications, Crestron, VOIP. Sure, that’s a long list, but the base salary is “six figures” and the company offers relocation assistance if you don’t already live nearby.

Security architects: Data breaches creating high demand
Given the rash of data breaches of late, it’s not surprising that security-related jobs are fairly plentiful — and employers are seeking a more business-minded skill set. A listing for a job at Capella University in Minneapolis, for example, defines the security architect role as “responsible for continuously protecting our critical information assets and brand name, assuring compliance with corporate and regulatory policies/standards & industry best practices, while simplifying, enhancing and enabling business initiatives.” In this case, you’d need the following certifications: CISSP, CISA, CISM, or GIAC. Synergy Computer Solutions, a consultancy in Auburn Hills, Mich., seeks a security architect with at least five years of experience with Web access management tools. The job pays $54 to $59 an hour.

Top cities for network architects
How does $3,000 a week sound? That’s what California Systems is offering for a Network Architect in Glendale, Calif. The company’s need is urgent. There’s a long list of required skills and certifications, including HP ASE for Network Architect, SCE/SCM, ITILv3. Fifty miles down the freeway in Irvine, Greenfield Partners seeks a wireless network architect. The job requires that you “communicate effectively at the IT and business facing executive leadership level,” a common requirement as IT functions move out of the IT department ghetto. The Los Angeles area, which doesn’t appear often in these lists, has 154 listings and a competitive salary range, even when adjusted for living costs. Chicago shows high demand, translating to high pay that goes far.

Hotspots for program managers
Baltimore: A great city to eat crabs, catch a baseball game or visit the grave of Edgar Allen Poe. And if you’re looking for a job as an IT program manager, you’ll find 308 within a 40-mile radius of Charm City. A fair number of these jobs are with companies that have contracts with the federal government and some require a security clearance. There’s more money (in adjusted dollars) to be made in the Houston area, but only about one-third as many jobs for program managers, while that other Texas city, Dallas, offers just under 200. And don’t forget about Raleigh and Phoenix.

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Data Centers to World: Not Dead Yet!

Anticipating the next-gen data center

Agility and flexibility are two of the most popular words to describe the attributes expected from IT in helping achieve future business objectives. But how do you apply those attributes to what many large enterprises still consider the linchpin of IT infrastructure – the data center?

There are not, yet, many companies like Condé Nast, which recently shuttered its data center to go “all in with the cloud.” Let’s face it, if you’re a content company, albeit one of the select few with a still thriving print business, transforming to an all-cloud strategy makes a lot of sense.

For just about any other industry, cloud may drive new growth and innovation, but the bulk of business is still dependent on heavy-duty data center servers and applications to run the daily operations.

For many, the prospect of going “all in” on cloud is an unachievable goal, at least for the short-term. Why disrupt transactional systems that are working well and then have to deal with the reliability and performance questions that need to be resolved to migrate them to the cloud? You can utilize online tools to calculate the ROI of new cloud projects, but how do you calculate unknown potential disruption to mission-critical applications?

CIOs are, by nature, fairly cautious and few are willing to gamble on putting all enterprise applications out in the cloud at this stage. Meeting the challenge of tomorrow, however, doesn’t necessarily mean abandonment of what is working well today. Enterprises can cost-effectively implement phased network architecture upgrades that enable new levels of application flexibility and business agility.

Many have reduced data center costs by moving more applications onto fewer servers and also reduced licensing fees and other costs by migrating to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. This highly virtualized, services on demand model is the foundation on which future cloud efforts will build.

As this migration to a virtualized environment continues, the underlying network architecture should also evolve. You wouldn’t want a Boeing 777 to rely on the hydraulics controls of an earlier era, nor should you expect the cloud-based enterprise to perform well on networking that hasn’t evolved to meet new needs and expectations.

Existing network design must adapt gracefully, one rack at a time, but network infrastructure must be flexible enough to support both dedicated and virtualized hardware. Each organization needs to determine when and how far to converge IP and Fibre Channel traffic; in some cases, convergence may not make sense for applications that require assured high availability.

Data center evolution without revolution does, however, require a determination on the number of layers within each network, the number of switching tiers in each layer, and the management model for virtualization and cloud computing services. The key is to move toward a target design along a well-planned path and to use incremental steps to control risk.

Ultimately, this path will lead many to realize that the virtualized environment requires a flatter network that accommodates the flow within, between and among servers, something that can be achieved with Ethernet Fabrics.


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9 wireless battery chargers: No power? No problem!

Tired of having to fumble for the USB port every time your mobile device runs out of power? With these wireless chargers, just put your device down and let it power up.

Wireless chargers are about convenience. Plop your mobile device on a charging station and as long as it’s within range (5mm or .20 in. for most chargers) it will power up, no wires needed (but at a slightly slower rate than a wired charger).

The technologies incorporated into most of these chargers is Qi, a standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. It transfers energy from the charger to your device through an electromagnetic field. If your phone doesn’t have Qi built in, there are a variety of Qi-compliant cases available.

Meanwhile, a merger between the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) could provide another alternative.

Need a boost? We’ve assembled one PMA and eight Qi-enabled chargers.

Anker Qi-Enabled Single-Position Wireless Charger
The Anker wireless charging pad has not one, but two display lights on its face. A power indicator glows green if the pad is connected to a power source; a charge indicator lights up green when it is charging your phone but flashes red when your phone is placed incorrectly on the pad (it will stay red if it has malfunctioned). Standard graphics on the face of the charger show where you should place your phone.
As with most wireless chargers, the 6.1 × 3.5 × 0.3 in. Anker will power your device about 15% to 20% slower than a wired charger. It plugs into a power source through a micro USB port on the bottom edge.
Price: $29.99 retail

Choe Inductive Qi Wireless Power Pad
At 3.6 x 3.6 x 0.3 in. and weighing only 2.5 oz., the compact Choe wireless charger is the smallest charger profiled here. It is available in either white or black.
An LED indicator on the side of the charger lets you know it is working; the blue light on the edge will flicker continuously when it is charging your phone. The company says it will charge a Nexus 5 smartphone in around four hours.
Price: $29.99 retail

Duracell Powermat
Instead of Qi, Duracell’s Powermat uses a magnetic inductive charging technology championed by the PMA. As a benefit, the PMA is partnering with stores like Starbucks to provide wireless power stations for customers.
The Powermat needs to be coupled with a Duracell wireless case in order to work ($49.99 for an iPhone 5/5S, $25.99 for an iPhone 4/4S or a Samsung Galaxy S III). An audible beep tells you charging has started successfully and another sounds when your device is fully powered — the Powermat then stops to avoid overcharging your batteries.
A Powermat for one device measures 3.75 x 3.75 x 0.37 in.; larger versions accommodate up to three devices.
Price: $39.99 direct, $24.69 retail (for one-device version)

Gmyle Qi Wireless Charging Pad
The Gmyle aims to keep your smartphone steady. Magnets snap your phone into the optimal position for charging, and the pad sports a non-slip surface to keep the phone in place (since evidently the magnets alone don’t do the trick). And your phone has to be only within 8mm to 9mm (about 1/3 in.) of the Gmyle, almost twice the max distance of most chargers.
This thin, black charging pad is only slightly larger than many smartphones, so it requires little real estate on your table. Gmyle says the device charges at over 80% the rate of plugged-in chargers.
Price: $29.98 direct, $26.98 retail

Mugenizer N11 Portable Wireless Charger Power Bank
It’s hard to stand out from the pack. What makes the Mugenizer N11 unusual is that this wireless charger doubles as a portable battery. You can also plug in your device the old-fashioned, wired way. In fact, you can charge two phones simultaneously: one plugged in and one wireless.
With a 4800mAh capacity, the 8.1 oz. Mugenizer has the capability to charge a phone more than once. A rubberized ring in the middle of the 2.9 x 5.4 x 0.5 in. pad keeps your phone from slipping when charging. Six LED lights let you know when the Mugenizer is charging a phone and also tell you how much juice is left.
Price: $69.95 direct

Nokia Wireless Charging Plate
If you find the basic black, white and silver of other wireless chargers boring, then Nokia’s Wireless Charging Plate might have the style you are looking for. It doesn’t only come in white or black, but also cyan, red and yellow.
Measuring 2.36 x 4.72 x .43 in., the Nokia charger is compatible with all Qi-enabled devices. And it is recyclable to boot. A small light on the edge of the charger shines continuously while your phone is charging and it gives one long blink when the charge is complete. Just try not to miss it.
Price: $24.50 – $49.99 retail

Oregon Scientific Time & Wireless Charging Station
If you find yourself missing the old-fashioned nightstand clock from the days of yore, you may want to try Oregon Scientific’s Time & Wireless Charging Station. It’s not only a Qi charger — it also acts as an alarm clock and gives you the date and the indoor/outdoor temperatures.
Just drop your phone on the station before you go to bed and it will be ready to go in the morning. Charging is not placement specific, so you don’t have to worry about lining your phone up with a charging point. The digital display is blue, and the alarm clock comes in either black or white.
Price: $129.99 direct, $29.30 – $109.99 retail

RavPower Orbit Qi-Enabled Wireless Charger
Lose things a lot? If you’re always wondering where your wireless charger’s cable ended up, look to the RavPower Orbit. It comes with a built-in USB cable that wraps handily around its base when you’re not using it.
To accommodate the wrapped cord, the Orbit is thicker than other wireless chargers, measuring 2.8 x 0.8 x 2.8 in. Like many wireless chargers, it detects when your phone is fully charged and automatically switches into idle mode. The device also makes a “ding” sound when it connects with your phone and a red LED light indicates when your phone is charging or fully charged.
It also sports an anti-slip surface to keep your phone from sliding off.
Price: $39.99 direct, $35.99 retail

Tylt Vu Wireless Charger
While most wireless chargers take longer to power your device than their wired counterparts, Tylt maintains that its Vu wireless charger will fill your phone’s battery just as fast as if you plugged it in.
Another useful feature of the Vu is that its futuristic design allows you to easily see your phone while it charges, since it rests on a 45-degree angle. So you can charge your phone and watch your favorite video at the same time. Also, it looks cool.
The Vu comes in green, blue, red or black and measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 0.5 in.
Price: $69.99 direct
Rebecca Linke is an associate online editor at Computerworld who writes about social media and personal technology, among other topics.

Tylt Vu Wireless Charger
While most wireless chargers take longer to power your device than their wired counterparts, Tylt maintains that its Vu wireless charger will fill your phone’s battery just as fast as if you plugged it in.
Another useful feature of the Vu is that its futuristic design allows you to easily see your phone while it charges, since it rests on a 45-degree angle. So you can charge your phone and watch your favorite video at the same time. Also, it looks cool.
The Vu comes in green, blue, red or black and measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 0.5 in.
Price: $69.99 direct
Rebecca Linke is an associate online editor at Computerworld who writes about social media and personal technology, among other topics.


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How to Clean Up Your IT Resume

As spring comes to a close, it’s an ideal time to clear the clutter from your resume. It’s key to make sure you present only relevant, current information in the most attractive way possible. Here, three experts weigh in on what to toss out and what to keep.

The warm weather signals time to open the windows, deep-clean the house and enjoy the sunshine. But don’t forget to clear the clutter from your resume while you’re at it; even if you’re not currently looking for a job, keeping your resume fresh and updated is a must. Here, three experts weigh in on what to keep and what to toss.

Blocking any useful cloud app doesn’t work and ultimately does the business a disservice. This list

Use Formatting to Your Advantage
In short, a resume is a one-page overview of your life, says Michelle Joseph, talent acquisition expert and CEO of PeopleFoundry. “However creative you may get with fonts and colors, the content is of the utmost importance,” Joseph writes in her blog.

That said, you do want to take advantage of fonts and formatting to help highlight important content, says Caitlin Sampson, CHRP, CPRW, CEIP and Career Consultant with Regal Resumes.

“Companies get a lot of resumes, and you want to stand out as much as possible,” Sampson says. “Take advantage of the fact that a reader’s eyes go to the first half of the resume first, and that readers are more likely to remember the first and last line of every paragraph,” she says.

The Objective Statement
The general, vague objective statement, long a constant on the traditional resume, is now tired and obsolete, according to Joseph. While you still need to include a statement of intent, make sure this is customized and specific to the job you’re applying for.

“By speaking only in generalities, you’re not adding any substance to the resume,” Joseph writes. She adds that many of today’s job seekers just eliminate the objective statement altogether, but if the resume feels naked without it, a sentence or two explaining why you’ll be perfect for the position you’re applying for will suffice.

Rona Borre, CEO and president of IT staffing and recruiting firm Instant Technology, says having such a statement at the top of the resume helps focus a reader and is crucial to setting the stage for the rest of the resume.

“From a logistical standpoint, it’s really crucial to have that at the top, as long as it’s geared to the position that you’re applying for,” Borre says. “This is your ‘elevator pitch’ — the company is your customer and you’re selling yourself to the job, so make sure your opening statement is powerful and aimed right at the position,” she says.

Contact Information and References

Keep personal data and contact information short and sweet. Ensure that you have important contact information such as your name, email, and phone number at the top of the page, but relegate references to a separate page that’s only sent if employers specifically ask for it, she adds. “If they want references, they will request them; there is no need for you to waste space saying, ‘References available upon request,’ either,” Joseph writes.

You must provide the name of the college or university that you graduated from along with the degree you received, according to Joseph. And for applicants new to the job market, this can be a great way to draw attention to relevant curriculum or projects that could highlight desired skills, even without on-the-job experience, says Instant Technology’s Borre.

“Newer folks in the workforce should have a strong educational portion of their resume where they highlight skills, classes, projects, etc. that are relevant to the role they want,” Borre says.

“Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, laying out the skills, roles and responsibilities you had and the outcome of those projects is also important to show you’re adept at teamwork and have leadership skills,” Borre says.

But make sure you include information about the outcome of the project, which is important for recruiters and hiring managers. And, Borre adds, don’t get caught in the trap of the collective “we” when outlining the scope and outcome of projects and curriculum — you want to seem like a team player, but also highlight individual strengths.

“Make sure you are highlighting your individual role on the team and how you contributed to the project or program’s success,” she says. “Remember, the company is hiring you, not the group you worked with.”

Keep the Past in the Past
Your resume should include only the last 10 to 15 years of work history, the experts agree. Experience from more than a decade ago is no longer pertinent information for an application, as much will have changed since that time, Joseph writes. Unless a job was deliberately short-term — like an internship, a contract position, or a job in event planning, then it should be left off the page as well, she adds.

And every job listed should have some relevance to the posting you’re applying for, experts agree. “If you worked at a grocery store for three months 22 years ago, you don’t need to include that information,” says Regal Resumes’ Sampson.

To make it easier to customize resumes for different positions, Joseph suggests keeping a master list of every one of your past jobs, roles, responsibilities, dates and the like so you can quickly add or subtract information relevant to the job you’re looking at.

This is tricky: You want some level of granularity here, but not an excessive amount of detail, which could bore readers and turn their attention elsewhere.

Joseph suggests including an overview of tasks and duties during the duration of your time in each job, without going into the mundane, tedious tasks that are a given, like filing, copying and other administrative duties.

However, you should provide information that shows results, says Sampson, and prove that you are able to work as a team, multitask, assume leadership responsibility and any other relevant information by using examples.

“If you’re applying for a project management position, include past experience, roles, responsibilities and outcomes that showcase your project management skills,” Sampson says. “And make sure you show measurement — instead of just saying that you saved your previous employer money, it helps to explain the scope of that savings. So, you ‘saved the company $10 million over my five years there,'” Sampson says.

And you should always be looking for ways to improve your abilities and gain new skills and knowledge, says Sampson, and add these to your resume.

“Taking courses and learning new skills can help you to stay current and have a competitive edge over others in the job market,” Sampson says. “For example, if you notice a lot of companies you’re applying to are looking for someone who has SharePoint experience, then go out and get some SharePoint experience,” she says.

Finally, one of the most important steps is to proofread. A few missed commas or misspelled words may not seem like a big deal, but to a hiring manager or employer, these details can make a huge difference. If you’re not certain, have a friend or colleague take a peek and make sure to accept and incorporate their feedback.

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Top 20 colleges for computer science majors, based on earning potential

Top 20 colleges for computer science majors, based on earning potential
The Golden State dominates PayScale’s ranking of the top computer science schools

Among computer science grads, alumni from University of California, Berkeley, led the pack with a median mid-career salary of $141,400, PayScale says.

California is home to the top five computer science schools in the U.S., according to a new salary-centric report from PayScale.

The research company ranked 129 college majors based on the median pay for alumni from 1,016 schools (see related story, Computer science major ranks No. 8 for salary earning potential).

In addition to ranking the most lucrative majors, PayScale also analyzed which schools produce the highest-paid graduates in each field of study. Among computer science graduates, alumni from University of California, Berkeley, led the pack with a median mid-career salary of $141,400, PayScale said. The Golden State is also home to the next four universities in the computer-science rankings.

To come up with its rankings, PayScale surveyed 1.4 million civilian employees working full-time in the U.S. Only employees who possess a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees are included in PayScale’s College Salary Report. The rankings are based on the median mid-career earnings of graduates.

Best Schools for Computer Science Majors

Source: PayScale

1. University of California, Berkeley
Starting pay: $82,000
Mid-career pay: $141,400

2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CalPoly)
Starting pay: $67,000
Mid-career pay: $125,000

3. University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Starting pay: $68,000
Mid-career pay: $120,200

4. Stanford University (tie)
Starting pay: $90,000
Mid-career pay: $120,000

5. University of California, Irvine (UCI) (tie)
Starting pay: $64,200
Mid-career pay: $120,000

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Starting pay: $82,400
Mid-career pay: $117,500

7. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
Starting pay: $66,700
Mid-career pay: $117,000

8. Cornell University
Starting pay: $70,000
Mid-career pay: $116,500

9. University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Starting pay: $70,000
Mid-career pay: $115,000

10. Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Starting pay: $63,000
Mid-career pay: $114,500

11. San Jose State University (SJSU)
Starting pay: $65,500
Mid-career pay: $114,400

12. New York University (NYU)
Starting pay: $60,000
Mid-career pay: $112,500

13. University of Washington (UW)
Starting pay: $65,000
Mid-career pay: $112,100

14. University of Maryland (UMD)
Starting pay: $66,000
Mid-career pay: $112,000

15. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Starting pay: $69,500
Mid-career pay: $111,500

16. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) (tie)
Starting pay: $81,300
Mid-career pay: $111,000

16. Georgia Institute of Technology (tie)
Starting pay: $65,800
Mid-career pay: $111,000

18. University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
Starting pay: $65,000
Mid-career pay: $110,000

19. University of Texas (UT) – Austin
Starting pay: $64,000
Mid-career pay: $106,200

20. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Starting pay: $68,000
Mid-career pay: $106,000

It’s worth noting that not every college and university in the U.S. is included in the study. According to PayScale, there are approximately 3,070 bachelor’s degree-granting schools in the U.S, and this year’s College Salary Report includes 1,016 of them. With those 1,016 schools, PayScale asserts that it’s covering 86% of schools with more than 5,000 undergraduates and more than 75% of the estimated undergraduates in bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

PayScale defines mid-career employees as those with at least 10 years of experience in their career or field.

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Almost a million fake apps are targeting your phone

Trend Micro finds hundreds of thousands of fake Android apps in trawl of online stores, forums

Fake apps dressed up to look like official ones but actually designed to steal user data are increasingly targeting Android phone users, according to a study by Trend Micro.

The company looked at the top 50 free apps in Google’s Play Store and then searched Google’s app store and others to see if fake versions existed. It found fake versions existed for 77 percent of the apps. The fake apps are often made to look like the real ones and have the same functions, but carry a dangerous extra payload.

“We’ve been tracking the activity of malicious or high-risk apps for nearly five years,” said JD Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions at Trend Micro. “The potential for people to slip things past the gate and appear legitimate is much easier.”

Tokyo-based Trend Micro, which makes antivirus and antimalware software that guard against such risks, said it cataloged 890,482 fake apps in a survey conducted in April this year. More than half were judged to be malicious of which 59,185 were aggressive adware and 394,263 were malware.

The most common type of fake app purports to be antivirus software — targeting users who think they are protecting themselves from such problems. In some cases, the apps ask users to approve administrator privileges, which allow the app wider access to the phone’s software and data and make it more difficult to remove.

While many of the fake apps exist on forums or third-party app stores where security is either weaker than Google’s Play Store or nonexistent, fake apps can also invade the official Google store.

“A more recent example of a rogue antivirus app known as “Virus Shield” received a 4.7-star rating after being downloaded more than 10,000 times, mostly with the aid of bots,” Trend Micro said in its report.

Cheekily, scammers charged $3.99 for the fake app, which promised to prevent harmful apps from being installed. It was removed by Google after a few days, but not before it fooled thousands of users and even became a “top new paid app” in the Play Store. Trend said it was “perplexing” how the app achieved “top” status.

Attackers sometimes play on hype for apps.

When the “Flappy Bird” game was taken off the Play Store, fake versions appeared, some of which sent premium text messages. And before BlackBerry released its BBM messenger app for Android, a number of fake versions appeared that were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Trend Micro’s report was published on the same day Google said it had formed a security team to go after so-called “zero-day” exploits in software that allow attackers to target users before software companies issue patches.

Sherry said he thought Google’s announcement was “ironic” considering the large number of problems Trend Micro found in Google’s own backyard.

“I strongly suggest they take aim at the Android marketplace and Google Play,” he said.

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CompTIA Server + jobs in UK

Many students from all over the world move towards UK for completion of their higher studies. UK has best universities and educational institutes that provide students with knowledge and skills about their specialized subjects. As technology has become more innovated and is transformed, IT infrastructure provides students with best infrastructures.

Delivering lectures and providing them to students was not as efficient process as it became with this it infrastructure. In theses universities IT professionals with CompTIA server + certification were responsible to deliver lecture through a single work flow that creates and publishes content of the selected topics. Students were getting feedback and they get reliable play back regardless of any platforms. CompTIA server + certified professionals found this process more efficient, feasible and cost effective. Almost all universities and institutes were searching for CCompTIA server + certified professional. They hired new ones and also some of the institutes provided their students with this certification.

All the computers with in university premises and students laptops were interconnected in one network through which exchange of information was easy. Administrators, professors and students were now connected in campus network. CompTIA server + certified professionals were also able to manage software hosting, messaging, file sharing and storage, data storage and its retrieval.

This system was so productive that changed all the academics departments’ performance and resulted in more objective oriented and goal oriented systems. CompTIA server + certified professionals not only provided an efficient academic structure but this system was secure with many back up files. This system was needed to be maintained and managed with time intervals which were also one of responsibility of CompTIA server + certified professionals. These professionals were trained for disaster management and all these were utilized and they wren paid heavily for that.

The professionals with CompTIA Server + credential can easily derive a salary between GBP: US$: 35,000 to 50,000.

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CompTIA Linux+ Certification 2014

The Linux+ Certification 2014 is provided by CompTIA, which is a non-profit trade association and provides various professional certifications for the IT industry, all over the world. CompTIA also provides membership programs which include informative resources for the businesses and allows them to stay updated and at the forefront of the IT industry. CompTIA’s certifications including the Server+ certification are recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which increases their significance in the IT industry.

CompTIA’s Linux+ Certification 2014 focuses on knowledge of the Linux operating system and its variant operating systems, including details regarding their installation and operation and the basic concepts of free software and open source licenses, associated with these operating systems. Professionals having the Linux+ Certification 2014 have the skills and knowledge to use the Linux command line, perform installation, configuration and maintenance of Linux workstations as well as assisting users with Linux.

Ever since its release the CompTIA Linux+ Certification 2014 exam has received some criticism about the huge number of questions related to hardware that were on the exam in its initial versions, the same kind of questions, which were covered on the A+ exam also. However the newest version of the exam has removed this discrepancy. The evolution of the CompTIA Linux+ Certification 2014 began in July, 2008 and incorporated a Job Task Analysis (JTA), in which subject experts on the operating system evaluated job roles and assignments of IT professionals involved with open source operating systems. This information is then used for the purpose of to updating the exam objectives of Linux+ Certification 2014s.

Linux+ Certification 2014 Requirements

Candidates attempting the Linux+ Certification 2014 must have 6 to 12 months of practical experience using the Linux operating system and its administration. The certification consists of two exams the LX0-101 and LX0-102. There are 60 questions on each exam and the duration of the exams is 90 minutes Passing score of 500 is required on a scale of 200-800. Currently the exam is available in English language with the German, Brazilian, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish languages versions planned to be introduced soon by CompTIA.

CompTIA’s recommendations for Linux+ prerequisites are the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ certifications along with practical experience. The previous version of the Linux+ Certification 2014 exam was the exam XK0-002, which is scheduled to be retired at the end of October 2010.

Exam Topics

Exam topics frequently include subject matter related to the installation methods of Linux, configuration of boot loader, RPM management systems, working with Linux directories using the command line and bash shell, security matters, network administration, mounting file systems and configuration files of applications that Linux servers commonly run. Also included are topics about system architecture, GNU and Unix commands, devices under Linux, file systems and their hierarchy standard.

The configuration and usage of the X Window system is also a part of formal exam objectives, but questions regarding this topic rarely appear in the exam. The reason for this that the exam is concentrated more on use and working of the Linux operating system in the server and networks domain as compared to its use as a desktop

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CompTIA A+ Certification 2014 Job Satisfied

The A+ Certification is provided by CompTIA, which is a non-profit trade association and provides various professional certifications for the IT industry, all over the world. CompTIA’s certifications including the A+ certification are recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which increases their significance in the IT industry.

The A+ certification is basically designed to be vendor neutral and covers various technologies from different vendors, including Microsoft, Apple, HP, Novell, Cisco and Linux Distributions. Professionals having the A+ certification are recognized as competent entry level computer technicians, having knowledge which is the equivalent of 500 hours of field experience.

Candidates who have acquired the A+ certification possess the required knowledge to understand the fundamentals of and identify the different components of computer technology, networking and security.

Since its development back in 1993, the A+ certification has gone through four revisions the latest version which was introduced in 2009, requires the candidates to pass two exams to achieve the certification these include the A+ Essentials and A+ Practical Application exams.

Because the A+ certification is ISO 17024 accredited, it goes through updates to the exam, on a regular basis. Due to changes in certification conditions that were announced in 2010 the A+ certifications will now expire after 3 years. Previously these certifications had a lifetime validity status. People who are current certificate holders will retain the validity for life but the candidates attempting the certification after December 31, 2010 will have a expiry period of 3 years on their certifications. To date there are more than 700,000 people worldwide, who have earned the A+ certification.

The A+ Certification requires 2 exams:
CompTIA A+ Essentials – Exam 220-801
CompTIA A+ Practical Application – Exam 220-802

Each exam consists of 100 questions and the duration for each exam is 90 minutes. The passing score on a scale of 100 – 900 is 675 for the A+ Essentials exam and 700 for the A+ Practical Application.

The exams are currently available in 8 different languages worldwide. The cost of the exams is $168 for each of the two exams, although CompTIA members are eligible for discounts.

The A+ certification combined with CompTIA’s Network+ certification can be used to qualify as an elective exam for Microsoft’s MCSA and MCSE certification

Exam Topics

The exam objectives are reviewed and revised at regular intervals to ensure that the contents of the certification are current. Due to this reason the following information is not necessarily an exhaustive list of test objectives.

Troubleshooting, Repair & Maintenance
Operating System and Software
Operational Procedure

Sub topics under these main exam objectives include knowledge about IRQs, direct memory access, and practical skills regarding computer repair, which includes the installation and repair of various devices i.e. hard drives, modems, network cards, CPUs, power supplies along with PDAs and printers. The main emphasis of the exam is not theory, but developing practical skills.



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Impact of Today’s Hardware and Software Applications in Cloud-based Environments: Part 1

As an industry, we have been looking at cloud-based technologies both from private and public structure and how best to optimize design, engineer and develop such technologies to better optimize the world of wireless and the Internet of Everything.

Practical advice for you to take full advantage of the benefits of APM and keep your IT environment

But one aspect that has not been discussed at length is how poorly hardware and software perform in cloud-based environments. I want to discuss some of the challenges facing the industry and some potential solutions that can help create and bring a new revolution to the world of Wide Area Networks (WAN), along with the automation of practically every human-to-human and human-to-machine interface.

Currently, there are two technologies being discussed in almost every seminar or white paper being published—software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). While these vary in structure by different vendors, clearly, all of them attack certain aspects of the mobile carrier network or Tier 1 landline networks. Let me give you my two-cents on what these technologies must address:

SDN must create a more agile network with the development of an open northbound interface. This becomes an enabler for service providers (SPs) to reduce time-to-market for service introduction, reduce capex unit cost by focusing network elements (NEs) to just move traffic, and reducing opex unit cost for network services that take significant human capital cost to deliver, such as establishing protection and restoration or provisioning new connectivity services.

NFV must enable SPs to provide new services, and hence, new incremental revenue, by replacing dedicated hardware/software located on the customer premise, e.g., DVR, storage, firewall and others.

Cloud computing, on the other hand, must enable enterprises to leverage shared and scalable computing resources, hardware and software to impact their capex and opex unit costs.

These promises are expected to deliver much better total cost of ownership (TCO) with lower opex and in essence support moving to a hardware-agnostic or independent model, offering further savings.

About a decade ago, I predicted that the battleground in the 21st century would be all about software and not hardware. Although hardware is needed, it is the role of software to optimize all five functions above using new state-of-the-art technologies such as SDN and NFV.

The problem that can become very complicated is that enterprise customers’ networks and appliances are not designed for multiple tenants, pay-for-play or on-demand services. However, SDN and NFV are fundamentally designed for such functions. That means that it is imperative for CXOs to sponsor corporate-wide programs to move into SDN and NFV, offering capabilities to drive higher revenues while competing for device replacements at the network margins from mobile access points up to wireline or Wide Area Networks.

SDN, by itself, is not really a new technology and has been in existence since 2006. It has been used to mainly improve data center performance, since the concept of big central offices with large Class 4/5 switches are pretty much obsolete in the 21st century.

But SDN has a long way to go to deliver an agile network. Today’s management of transport networks does not match the agility of the cloud-based services being deployed on them. These two have to converge to bring the transport agility into the 21st century for service delivery. Why should it take weeks and months to establish a new enterprise customer on an SP network? Why should it take weeks to provision high-speed point-to-point connectivity with specific protection requirements? SDN has yet to deliver just that.

NFV, in contrast, was introduced between 2010 and 2012 to operators in order to improve service time-to-market and network flexibility and allow a smooth transition to the cloud with significantly lower opex. In my view, the sky is the limit on NFV. For any onsite services (e.g., storage, firewall and DVR), whether today or in the future, NFV gives SPs the opportunity to deliver both consumers and enterprises major benefits, such as having a turn-key solution that lowers costs and improves quality of service (QoS).

The initial applications of SDN and NFV have changed greatly over the past few years. SDN focused mainly on cloud orchestration and networking, while NFV focused on IP-based protocols and capabilities such as DNS, DHCP, DPI, firewalls, gateways, and traffic management.

From my perspective, I believe NFV has already taken over Layer 4-7 of the SDN movement by delivering lower capex and cycle time, creating a competitive supply of innovative applications by third parties and introducing control abstractions to foster innovations that carriers need in order to compete with all over-the-top players.

Let’s also note that the new world requires openness in almost every API layer of the network from access to the core. The issue is legacy systems and processes that need to be changed in order to adapt to the new world of SDN and NFV.

Nowhere is this more critical than the mobile and Tier 1 landline carriers.

In essence, these sectors need to change all analog processes using legacy systems into digital processes, in which NFV can easily fit. That transition may take years, if not a decade, before it is fully implemented.

But the question is whether MNOs and Tier 1 carriers can wait that long to implement NFV and get the most optimized set of solutions in order to compete globally.

My guess is no, they cannot wait and stay competitive. The transition to NFV can be done more quickly, and I’m going to tell you how.

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7 tips for older programmers joining startups

In the grand scheme of things, 40-something isn’t considered old. But anything beyond 20-something is often considered old in that stereotypical bastion of fresh-out-of-school youth – the startup. Joining a startup can give seasoned programmers a new jolt of energy and excitement, but can also cause them concern over trying to bridge the generation gap with their new, younger colleagues. A number of programmers, of all ages, recently shared advice on Slashdot for older developers considering joining startups. Here are 7 tips they gave for you more seasoned developers to keep in mind when joining a startup.

Act your age
Just because you’re joining a company full of 20 year-old developers with no family obligations who like to socialize a lot, doesn’t mean you have to try to match their partying ways. Act your age and let your work speak for itself.
“You’re there to do a job, not be a frat buddy.” minkie
“… you will be respected for your technical expertise and not for any foolish attempt to ‘fit in’ bar hopping with super-annuated adolescent co-workers.” pigiron
“If the company succeeds, those events will go away, and you’ll fit in; if they don’t go away, the company will fail, and you won’t need to worry about that problem anymore.”

Don’t isolate yourself
While you shouldn’t try too hard to fit in socially with your younger colleagues, you also shouldn’t isolate yourself. Taking part in the occasional group activity can help you make you feel part of the team.
“I definitely don’t participate in all the extracurricular activities, but I do join in enough to stay part of the scene. “ dhaines
“Cultural activities can be had that don’t have to interfere with your WLB (work-life balance).” Anonymous
“Make time to show up for a few of the more innocuous extracurriculars even though you have a family. You don’t have to go to the strip club, but a couple of drinks and a round of pool won’t kill you.” Anonymous

Work smarter, not harder
Don’t fall into the stereotypical startup trap of regularly working crazy hours. Use your experience to do your work in a reasonable amount of time so you can still have a life with your family. You’ll be happier and the youngsters just may learn a thing from you about working efficiently and having a life away from work.
“… being more experienced, professional and efficient makes up for long hours.” Anonymous
“Use your maturity to avoid being the 16 hour per day programmer.” Anonymous
“I would rather have a guy who is excited, happy and engaged, outdoing the younger kids and showing how it gets done, all while having that WLB (work-life balance).” Anonymous

Be upfront about your needs
Before even joining a startup, try to get a sense for the company culture and whether it would be a good fit for you. Be upfront about your family commitments and make sure that the company will be accepting and supportive of your needs.
“Setting office hours clearly helps. IE, I will always be there by nine, and I won’t take meetings after 4pm (my personal plan).” Anonymous
“You don’t want to be the bottle-neck on a critical release cycle because of family commitments, so sharing your schedule and setting fair expectations on when you can work is important.”
“If you feel that the company’s culture won’t be accepting of your needs, run away.” Sheepless

Share your wisdom
Don’t be afraid to share the wisdom you’ve gained through your years of experience. Use it to provide guidance and to mentor younger developers who will, most likely, appreciate it.
“You will have insight into problems that the 20 somethings will never have. That is nothing to be shy or ashamed of.” crispytwo
“Come in as the voice of wisdom and experience. It’s useful!” Lally Singh
“… I took the opportunity to become a mentor for the young guys. It’s worked very well.” Anonymous
“They will appreciate the times when someone comes up with a bad idea that looks good, but you can say ‘I’ve seen this before, here’s what happened…’” Strudelkugel

Respect your younger coworkers
Don’t shy away from being the voice of experience with younger coworkers, but make sure you do so in a way that won’t alienate them. Remember what it was like when you were their age and how you would have like to been treated.
“Remember that they’re young, not stupid (at least most of them)- show them why they’re wrong politely and show them why your way is better respectfully.” AuMatar
“Make use of teachable moments while not talking down to them.” Anonymous
“Respect them (the younger employees). Nobody wants to be made to feel stupid. Do not look down your nose at them.” Anonymous

Focus on the work
In the end, just remember that you were hired to do a job. Focus on doing that to the best of your abilities and odds are that all will be well.
“… I think as long as you do your job right with the right attitude, you’re doing your job and that’s what matters most.” Anonymous
“Be excellent. That’s why they’re going to hire you.” larwe
“… focus on the work, be engaged and open-minded, and you’ll be fine.” cbybear
“Be yourself, kick butt, take names.” samantha

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